Yet it wasn't until recently that I even considered the idea of practicing characteristics I'd like to see become more a part of my life. The fruits of the Spirit sound wonderful don't they? Can you imagine if we all walked around in love, with joy, patient in all circumstances, kind to one another, having peace within, practicing goodness to those we encounter, being gentle with one another, and controlling ourselves? Wow. What a different world this would be!
If you're like me, though, these characteristics don't just come naturally. Like for most of us it doesn't come naturally to play the piano. So if we want to learn how to play we must practice, then eventually we will be able to play a song without thinking about what we are doing. We don't get better at playing piano without intentional practice.
So why do I think that it will come naturally to be kind? Or to be thankful?
We celebrate Thanksgiving in one week. Yet how many of us actually practice thanksgiving daily? To do so takes thought. It takes commitment. It takes a desired outcome...just like practicing piano.
It also takes perseverance because more often than not it is easier to be thankless. It's easier to gripe or complain or be angry or impatient or upset. How often have you been sitting in traffic and thought, "Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to sit in traffic for an hour. It gives me time to talk with you and I don't take a lot of time for that these days." Or when the pasta sauce spills on the floor. Or the kids are distracting you from what you want to be doing. Are we thankful then?
It's always easier to do what comes naturally. In this case complaining...or not learning how to play piano. To do something unnatural requires intentional practice. It is stretching. It is difficult. It is hard. It may feel strange. Yet it is usually worthy. And as much as it is our responsibility to practice piano if we want to learn how to play a song on it, it is also our responsibility to practice thankfulness if we want to be a thankful person.
So my challenge to all of us this month is to choose to practice a characteristic you'd like to grow in. I'm choosing thankfulness. What will you choose? Do you want to be more naturally kind? Loving? Generous? Authentic?
Make your choice. Then choose to practice intentionally. In time, that which does not come naturally will soon be more natural. You'll be a better person for it. I will be too. And so will our world.
So, to intentionally practice thankfulness, let me say, "Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read these messages each month. Thank you for being a part of my story. Thank you for choosing to take or not take the challenges I present to you. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for being you."
Now it's your turn. What will you practice? Start now.
Originally published through Fruitful Branches Coaching
© 2012 Mellany Zepelak and Fruitful Branches Coaching LLC
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